Iraq president’s testimony rejected in terror trial of VP


BAGHDAD — An Iraqi appeals court has rejected a request to have President Jalal Talabani testify in the terror trial against the nation’s Sunni vice president. The decision was announced Tuesday by defense lawyers to Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi as the trial against him resumed.

Al-Hashemi had wanted Talabani, an ethnic Kurd, to serve as a character witness to help his case.

There was no immediate explanation as to why the appeals court rejected the request.

Al-Hashemi is one of Iraq’s highest-ranking Sunni officials. He is accused of running death squads against Shiites and government security forces in a case that has exacerbated sectarian tensions around the country.

Al-Hashemi has denied the charges but has fled Iraq. He was last seen in Turkey. His trial is scheduled to continue on Aug. 14.